Clinical research has led to many treatments available to patients, including vaccines, drugs, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. These treatments wouldn’t exist without volunteers.
Drugs are tested in clinical trials to ensure that they work and don’t have too many side effects for people to tolerate. Taking part in clinical trials is not a choice that everyone makes lightly.
You’ll Make a Difference
Major medical breakthroughs could not have happened without the generosity of clinical trial volunteers. People who participate in research become partners in scientific discovery and contribute to better health care for future generations.
Each study has a specific plan, called a protocol, that describes what will be done in the study and why. These plans are carefully reviewed before the research begins by a group of experts called an Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB makes sure the risks to participants are as low as possible.
Then, the researchers followed the protocol during the study. Each study also has safeguards to protect the volunteers, like informed consent and Data and Safety Monitoring Boards.
Some people confuse clinical research with medical care, especially when their doctor is also the researcher. Research and medical care are separate activities, but both benefit the patient. For example, doctors participating in medical research are more likely to follow clinical guidelines and apply new therapies quickly, improving patient outcomes. They also form stronger relationships with their patients, increasing patient retention.
You’ll Get Paid
One reason why take part in clinical research is to help medical science. It’s no secret that life-saving medical treatments such as vaccines and medicines would not have come to us today without the efforts of volunteers.
Clinical research creates generalizable knowledge that serves the collective good and may benefit other patients in the future. It is a vital part of medical practice.
Research is done in various ways, including through observational and experimental studies. Clinical trials are empirical studies that test the effects of an intervention (e.g., a drug or procedure).
Clinical research volunteers can be paid for their participation in studies. This is usually discussed with participants when they are informed about the study. However, participants can withdraw from a study at any time if they need to benefit more. They can also ask their doctors about available research opportunities. Then, they can sign up for weekly e-mails with information about studies looking for volunteers. This is a great way to get involved in medical research!
You’ll Have Fun
Clinical research is a key part of modern medical knowledge. It helps doctors find better ways to treat diseases, prevent illnesses and understand how the body and mind work. Many life-changing medicines, vaccines and treatments have been tested through a trial program.
Research volunteers are crucial in this process and can benefit in several ways. For some, it can mean access to treatment yet to be available to the public or a chance to meet like-minded people. Some research studies even offer volunteers the opportunity to be paid for their time and travel expenses.
Taking part in clinical research can be confusing, especially if your doctor is also a researcher. However, a study’s protocol defines the rules for participation and outlines steps to follow if you don’t feel well during a clinical trial. Sometimes, the protocol may require an overnight stay in a hospital or research facility. It is important to talk with your physician and family about deciding whether or not to participate in a clinical research study.
You’ll Learn Something New
Many people agree to participate in clinical research for various reasons. Some hope to monitor their health; others want to help advance medical research that could benefit future patients. Still, others may want to be among the first to try a new drug or device.
In clinical research, scientists look for ways to prevent, diagnose, control and treat illnesses. Without the work of volunteers, most of today’s medicines would not be available. Vaccines and antibiotics have helped end many once-common and deadly diseases such as smallpox, polio, diphtheria and tetanus.
Research volunteers are not guaranteed to receive any benefit for their participation. However, participants can learn much about their health, and some studies offer compensation for their time.
The distinction between clinical research and medical care can be confusing, especially if your doctor is also the researcher. When you participate in a study, your doctor develops a care plan for you. When you join a study, you and the research team follow a set program called a protocol. Researchers cannot adjust the plan for you, but the protocol usually includes steps to follow if something goes wrong.
You’ll Make a Difference
Many life-saving medical treatments available today would only have made it to the market with the participation of volunteers in research studies. These studies allow doctors to discover the best ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease.
Each clinical trial has a specific study plan (called a protocol) that describes what will be done and why it is necessary. The researchers who conduct the clinical trials follow strict guidelines to ensure the participants’ safety and well-being.
Depending on the type of clinical trial, participants may need to visit hospitals, clinics, or research centers. However, most studies let participants keep seeing their regular doctors and do not require that they stop taking any medications they normally take.
The reasons for participating in a research study differ from person to person, but most participants say that the hope of benefitting themselves is one reason they volunteer to participate. They may be hoping for a cure for their disease, the chance to be screened early and reassured that they are healthy, or better access to healthcare.